Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Playing favorites

Fairly recently my mother reminded me about one of my biggest complaints in childhood. I had actually forgotten about it, but as a kid it always really bothered me that I didn't have a "partner" in our family. My parents had each other. My brothers had each other. I felt left out.

Remembering that feeling made me realize that I was feeling the same thing watching Ben favor Heath all these years. I've felt left out of my own family. And having to take care of a newborn 24-7 hasn't been winning me popularity points with Ben. When we first brought Sam home Ben reverted back to his worst bout of favoritism. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with me, to the point of crying even when Heath just went to the bathroom. As he's getting more used to our "new normal" it's gone back to an almost tolerable level of favoritism, but it still stings. Especially since I can't spend one-on-one time with him while Heath's at work anymore.

It makes total sense that Ben would favor Heath. Heath has more energy, he's loud and fun and he sings silly songs all the time. Ben and Heath also have a lot of similar interests and a similar mindset. I'm reserved and prefer reading or coloring or playing quiet games to running around like a crazy person (which is often what Ben and Heath do). I think (and hope) that I'll be the one Ben turns to when he needs quiet in his life, but I really can't imagine a time when I'll be his favorite.

And that's where it gets tough for Sam, because I'm really hoping he's "mine." I know it's a possibility that he'll gravitate toward Heath... But I'm openly and un-apologetically stating that I want him to be an introvert and prefer me. It's completely unfair to put those hopes on him, but I'm already the odd one out because I'm female. I don't want to be the only introvert and the un-favored parent in the family, too.

Sam's only seven weeks old and he doesn't even recognize us on sight yet, so I still have a few months before he could even feasibly pick a favorite. And who knows, he might not pick one. Not all kids do and some go back and forth during different phases of their life. But if he picks Heath it's going to be very tough for me.

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